Michael Stipe has lashed out at Donald Trump, condemning the U.S. president and the bungled coronavirus management in his once-hometown of Athens, Georgia. 

On Wednesday, September 16th, Stipe appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers. An appearance that saw the R.E.M. musician delve into his voting initiative PlanYourVote.org, working on new solo music, and his own political journey.

On Trump, Stipe offered a searing takedown,  “He started as a failed, midtown, real estate developer. Then became a successful reality TV star. Which is where this happened. Now we get this bloviating puff adder sack of lies — what next?.”

When Meyers asked at what point Stipe made a personal political shift, he explained that it was during his early years touring internationally with R.E.M. under the Reagan administration.

“When we were traveling outside of the country, this was during the Reagan years, and we suddenly in Europe were representative of America. And people were saying, you know, we’re there to play a show, a completely unknown band, and people are like, ‘What the f— are you people thinking? What are you doing over there?'” he recalled. “And so we had to, in a way, kind of politicize ourselves and educate ourselves about who we are to the rest of the world and who we are to ourselves.

Check out Michael Stipe on Late Night With Seth Meyers:

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In addition to his appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Stipe helmed an pp-ed for The Guardian on Thursday, September 17th, expressing his dissatisfaction with the way that the leaders of Georgia handled the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, a Donald Trump acolyte, was slow to order safety measures and quick to lift them, even limiting individual cities’ abilities to create a stronger framework than his recommendations,” he wrote.

“From REM’s modest start at the 40 Watt Club in Athens to the triumph of the main stage at Glastonbury, I have spent most evenings of my adult life in the company of thousands, or tens of thousands, reveling in a shared celebration of life. 2020 is the time, however, that we must find a different and more intimate source of warmth and revelry, rather than assembled masses,” Stipe mused. “The safety we create this fall and winter will make all those gatherings and events in future years more meaningful when this pandemic is behind us, having been shared by our friends and loved ones emerging with their health and lives intact.”

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